In June I treated myself to a custom knife from Emberleaf Workshops - thought I'd do a little write up to follow up on how I got on with it!
Despite numerous deer etc being processed with it over 6 months the edge remained fine enough (without a sharpen) to shave with until recently when I lent it to a friend to process a deer in the failing light... the edge stayed on most of the blade but the tip looked a little square (in his defence my headlight is cr@p). I sent it back to be sharpened and re-shaped (£20) and it was back with me 3 days later!
They had not only re-shaped, sharpened and polished the blade - they had also polished the handle and provided me with a new sheath as they felt the original one had become loose (I'd left it wet in my bag for 2 days so it had slackened a little but still held the knife in!).
The knife cost me £120, I've seen lower spec knives for sale for treble that amount so I feel really pleased to have happened across these guys at a knife fair - service has been quick and of consistently high quality. Knife itself is still one of my favourite bits of kit, so much so I'm thinking of getting another one as a back up in case I ever lose it!
Spec as follows:
Blade Material - AEB-L Steel, the same stuff Gillete Razor Blades are made from, known for its carbide qualities (basically it's superior to any other carbon steel). It is incredibly strong and can be sharpened to fine edge that holds through all sorts of punishment!
I'm not saying this knife will never need sharpening, but I honestly didn't sharpen it at all for about 6 deer even though I cut through the breast bone - even then it literally just took a wipe on the back of my belt and it was keen as mustard again! As long as you're not hacking through bone I believe this steel probably won't need sharpening more than once or twice every 30/40 beasts (gralloching & removing limbs&head). It really is incredible stuff - makes my other "carbon steel" knives look like toys!
Handle Material - Stabilised Ebony, as it looks nice and resists dirt and blood very well. They do offer a variety of synthetic and natural materials but this was within budget for me and suited the purpose.
Sheath - Hand made leather sheath, designed so I can side mount it on my belt as well as the more traditional way. They do offer green or black kydex (thermoplastic) sheaths but I like leather(!).
Style - Slim profile knife mainly for Roe, but with enough backbone to stick fallow etc. I based the knife on Emberleaf's "Cael" model but with a shortened blade that I also changed to a drop-point as following the tutelage of a friend I find a drop point great for unzipping without puncturing guts or damaging meat. I also wanted the blade short enough to hold with my finger protecting the point for skinning, but long enough to be useful when bleeding out or skull sticking deer.
My pictures don't do it justice, but they have a pretty decent website which is worth a look - I advise leaving your credit card with a trusted friend if you visit it (or just make sure you reach the post before she does!).